Corgan wrote some of the most significant Alternative Rock anthems of the 1990’s
The Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan turns 54 today
Billy Corgan was born William Patrick Corgan Jr. on March 17, 1967, in Elk Grove Village, Illinois and raised Catholic by his parents but when his parents divorced, Corgan alleges he was subject to much physical and emotional abuse by his stepmother. This is particularly relevant as later in his life he would circle around abuse subjects on his songs. As a teenager, Corgan became an athlete but soon his attention turned to music. Influenced by Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Queen, Boston, ELO, Rush, Cheap Trick, Bauhaus and The Cure, Corgan began developing his musical talent around that period. He formed The Smashing Pumpkins in 1988 and became the main force in the band by being the lead singer, main composer and guitar player. The band released their debut album “Gish” in 1991, a Psychedelic Rock and Heavy Metal blend that made some success among the underground Rock scene fans. But it was with their 1993 album “Siamese Dream” that The Smashing Pumpkins became a worldwide sensation. Released at a time where Alternative Rock ruled the charts and airwaves, the album profited from the back then popular Seattle Grunge sound and The Smashing Pumpkins were soon to be compared to Grunge bands such as Nirvana due to their heavy guitar sound. The album included the Alternative Rock hits “Today”, “Disarm” and “Mayonaise”. In 1995 they released the double album “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness”, a more eclectic effort from the band and a departure from the sound they developed on their first two albums. The 1995 album used several instruments and electronic sampling, and produced more hits for the band, including, “1979”, “Zero”, “Tonight, Tonight” and “Bullet with Butterfly Wings”. Praised by critics for its ambition and scope, “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” earned the band seven Grammy Award nominations in 1997, including Album of the Year and Record of the Year (“1979”), as well as 9 MTV Music Video Awards nominations, 8 of which were for “Tonight, Tonight”, including “Video of the Year”. Not only did they all become hits on both mainstream rock and modern rock stations, but “Bullet with Butterfly Wings”, “1979”, “Tonight, Tonight”, and “Thirty-Three” also became the band’s first Top 40 hits, crossing over to pop radio stations. But internal feud among the band members led The Smashing Pumpkins to a premature end as original members started to leave one by one. The next 4 albums, “Adore”, Machina”(1 and 2) and the 2007 “Zeitgeist” are a far cry from “Siamese Dream”. Corgan formed the band Zwan in the early 2000’s with former Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, but it was a short-lived project. Over the years he has been referred by fellow band members, and music press, as a “control-freak” in a studio which was one of the reasons that led the Pumpkins to a premature end. Despite that, recently, the band announced plans to reunite and tour together, except for original bassist D’Arcy. A less known side of Billy Corgan is that in 2011 Corgan entered the world of professional wrestling, founding Chicago-based Resistance Pro Wrestling. He later joined Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (now known as Impact Wrestling) in 2015, becoming its president in August 2016. After leaving TNA in November 2016, Corgan purchased the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), gaining its ownership in October 2017. Recently, in 2018, Corgan reunited the original line up of The Smashing Pumpkins (all except bassist D’Arcy) and a new album from the band it’s on it’s way while they’re currently touring. Billy Corgan turns 54 today.
Look back at the 1995 music video “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” by The Smashing Pumpkins
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